17 Lesser Known Facts About Father's Day

Father’s Day has always existed for as long as any of us can remember.

But in fact the third Sunday in June has only been marked as a day for celebrating our dads for just over a century.

Of course, we are grateful for our dads every single day, but it’s great that this day exists so that we can really show them how special they are.

So if it’s only been around for little more than 100 years, how did Father’s Day come to be?

1. Father’s Day was first celebrated on June 10, 1910 in Washington, USA

It was a single father who inspired his daughter to campaign for a day that recognised the efforts of dads everywhere.

Sonora Smart Dodd was so proud of her dad William, a war veteran, after he raised her and five of her siblings alone.

She had heard in a church service about the introduction of Mother’s Day and wanted a similar day to recognise dads too.

Sonora approached the Spokane Ministerial Service in Washington to appeal for a Father’s Day to be introduced on June 5, her birthday, but it was later agreed that Father’s Day should be held on June 10 and the first was held in 1910.

2. Father’s Day wasn’t made official in the US until 1972

America’s president at the time, Richard Nixon, made the third Sunday in June officially Father’s Day by making it public law.

Mother’s Day had been an official holiday in America since 1913 while Sonora Smart Dodd had campaigned for 62 years after the first unofficial celebration before it was recognised as a holiday. She lived to see it become a national holiday but died two years later aged 96.

3. It didn’t take long for the new holiday to land on British soil

In fact, Father’s Day was officially approved in 1916 in the UK and has been celebrated on the same day ever since.

4. Father’s Day wasn’t taken very seriously in its early years

Many people in America felt that a day to celebrate fathers was not as important as a day to celebrate mothers and Sonora Smart Dodd’s campaign was taken seriously by few.

A lot of Americans felt that fathers did little in comparison to mothers and so a day to celebrate it was considered ‘laughable’.

One newspaper reportedly claimed the introduction of Father’s Day would give rise to other ‘mindless’ celebrations.

5. Traditionally you should buy your dad a rose on Father’s Day

When Father’s Day was first celebrated, a red rose was the traditional gift of choice to give to dads. A white rose, however, was given to dads who had passed away and served as a special gift to remember them on the day.

In earlier celebrations of Father’s Day, the rose would be worn to represent a living or dead father.

6. Daughters spend more on Father’s Day than sons do

According to a study by Quidco, daughters in the UK spend on average £14.39 on their dads on Father’s Day, whereas sons spend a little less with an average of £13.54.

7. But dads lose out to mums when Father’s Day spends are compared with Mother’s Day

Daughters spend an average of £20.20 on their mums on Mother’s Day, while sons spend around £17.90. Sorry dad!

8. Americans spend more than Brits on Father’s Day

In fact, they spend more than triple on their dads than we do. The average Brit spends £14.45 on their dad on Father’s Day while the average American splashes out the equivalent of £77.02.

9. Father’s Day is held on different dates around the world

In Australia Father’s Day is held on the first Sunday in September, in Portugal and Spain St Joseph’s Day on March 19 is the day to celebrate Fathers, and in Thailand the king’s birthday is always chosen as Father’s Day.

10. Father’s Day was originally meant to be Fathers’ Day

Sonora Smart Dodd campaigned for the holiday to be called Fathers’ Day in order to celebrate dads everywhere. But in the process of passing a bill by Congress, it was misspelled and instead the apostrophe was placed before the s, and it was kept this way until it became part of law.

11. Around seven million Father’s Day cards are sent in the UK every year

This might sound like a lot, but it’s a small amount compared to the 13 million sent to mums every Mother’s Day.

12. The concept of Father’s Day might go back much further than Sonora Smart Dodd’s campaign

A message from a son to a father inscribed in clay more than 4,000 years old was found. The little boy was called Elmesu and the card is thought to be from ancient Babylonia.

13. Genetically, we are more like our dads

A recent study at the University of North Carolina in the US found that although we have an equal amount of DNA from both parents, we use the DNA from our dads more. The study found this to be true of all mammals, not just humans, and this information can now be used in the study of diseases.

14. The word ‘dad’ is thought to date back to the 16th century

It was first written down in the mid-1500s. But even though we have this evidence, there is still no definite indication of its origin. It is thought the word evolved from ‘baby gibberish’ and the same may be the case for mum too.

Others believe the word dad may have come from the Welsh word Tad.

15. The most popular Father’s Day gift?

A tie. This has also been voted by fathers to be the most boring gift they could receive too.

16. Google reveals what gifts we search for

A recent Google survey found that searches in June for golf balls increased by 50 per cent year on year, while June searches for ‘shaving kit’ have rocketed by 60 per cent year on year. Lucky dads!

17. In Germany Father’s Day is celebrated a little differently

German men celebrate Männertag (Men’s Day). Men celebrate with great wagons of beer and enjoy regional foods, and usually move around in groups of men of all ages to eat and drink.

It sounds like a great celebration but it has police across the country in high alert throughout the day. According to the office of statistics in Germany there are three times more alcohol-related traffic incidents on Männertag.

If you’re looking for something special for your dad browse our full range of Personalised Father’s Day Gifts on The Personalised Gift Shop.